Comedian and television personality Joan Rivers died at age 81 on Sept. 4 at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital due to medical complications.
Rivers was known for her bubbly personality as well as her fashion commentary.
Her parents were both Russian immigrants, who decided to move to New York.
Born in Brooklyn, Rivers decided to attend Barnard College to pursue her love of performing.
After graduation, she decided to try out acting, but soon found that it was not for her and decided to try stand-up comedy.
Although it took Rivers many years and many different comedy acts, she finally got her first big break on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”
Soon after, Rivers got her first television show titled “That Show,” while still working with “The Tonight Show.”
She also joined “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Rivers soon became a popular face in comedy.
In 1986, Rivers’ show “That Show” was canceled, and she also decided to leave “The Tonight Show.”
Rivers has stated that she left the show due to conflicting issues with NBC and not because of Carson. Rivers has stated multiple times that Carson “was like a father figure as well as the man who handed me my career.”
In 1989, Rivers launched her daytime talk show, “The Joan Rivers Show.”
She then continued to make a name for herself by being E!’s commentator for the “Live From the
Red Carpet” from 1996 to 2004.
“To me, Joan Rivers was always known for her E! News time and, of course, making jokes about celebrities,” said Casey Bonchi (junior, child development and family relations). “She always knew how to put a smile on my face.”
Rivers then worked as the host for Fashion Police for E! News and then continued to make her reality show with her daughter, Melissa Rivers, called “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows,” which aired from 2011-2014.
“I would look forward to watching their show every week,” Joanne Defrehn (senior, psychology) said. “Knowing that she won’t be on the show anymore is heartbreaking.”
Rivers was rushed to the hospital after she stopped breathing during surgery on her vocal cords, according to USA Today.
There, she was put into a medically induced coma and put on life support Aug. 30. On Sept. 4, Rivers passed away.
“She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends,” Melissa Rivers said, according to USA Today.
“Joan Rivers was someone that I always admired,” Kenzie Goulstone (sophomore communications media) said. “She made something of herself, and although she has died, the memory of all that she has done will live on forever.”
Rivers’ funeral was held Sept. 7 at New York’s Temple Emanu-El where close family and friends gathered to celebrate the life the way Rivers wished – in good spirits.
Celebrities in attendance included Barbara Walters, Michael Kors, Donald Trump, Howard Stern, Whoopi Goldberg and Kathie Lee Gifford.
“With all that Joan Rivers has done in her life, from the commentary about fashion to the jokes about celebrities,” said Bonchi, “she will continue to be remembered years after her tragic death.”
Along with comedy acts and TV appearances, Rivers was also known for writing books.
She wrote 12 novels showcasingher famous and humorous tone, which eventually led to her 2012 New York Times best-selling book, “I Hate Everyone…Starting with myself.”
In the book, Rivers discussed her funeral in detail and how she would rather it be a happy time and a big scene.
“When I die, I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action,” Rivers wrote, “I want craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some rabbi rambling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I don’t want a eulogy; I want Bobby Vinton to pick up my head and sing ‘Mr. Lonely.’”
“I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so that even in the casket my hair is blowing just like Beyoncé’s.”